Padres acquire Joe Musgrove from Pirates

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — It turns out that Joe Musgrove was prescient when, at 18, he got a tattoo of a baseball with the San Diego Padres’ logo in it, along with his last name and the year he was born.

His grandmother chewed him out, telling the teenager he had no idea if the Padres would draft him out of Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon. They didn’t. A decade later, though, it’s all good.

The big right-hander finally is a member of his hometown Padres, who obtained him Tuesday from the rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates in a seven-player, three-team trade that also included the New York Mets.

Musgrove had some fun with his grandmother Tuesday via FaceTime.

“I said, `Remember how stupid you made me feel when I got this at 18? I told you it would play out,”‘ the right-hander said in a videoconference with reporters. “We had a cool little moment with that.”

Three teams and six seasons into his big league career, Musgrove will toe the rubber at Petco Park wearing the brown and gold of a Padres team that in less than a month has remade itself into a squad that perhaps can end the Los Angeles Dodgers’ run of eight straight NL West titles and maybe even reach the World Series.

Musgrove knew the Pirates would likely trade him. But after the Padres obtained Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in blockbuster trades after Christmas, he figured his chances of coming home were slim.

It turns out Musgrove had been a focus of the Padres’ front office ever since their first playoff run in 14 seasons ended when they were swept by the Dodgers in the NL Division Series.

“The memories and the place where my dream of being a professional baseball player really started was in San Diego, at Qualcomm and then at Petco,” he said. “To be back in my hometown representing the city I grew up in and where all my dreams started, it’s extremely special.”

The Padres sent major league reliever David Bednar and three prospects – outfielder Hudson Head, left-hander Omar Cruz and right-hander Drake Fellows – to the rebuilding Pirates. The Padres sent left-hander Joey Lucchesi to New York, and the Pirates got catcher Endy Rodriguez from the Mets.

Musgrove joins a rotation that includes Darvish, Snell, Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack. The Padres are considering using a six-man rotation if the 2021 season returns to the normal 162 games.

Anchored by a star-studded infield with Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop and Manny Machado at third base, San Diego won a wild-card series against St. Louis before being swept by the Dodgers, who went on to win the World Series.

“If you grew up in San Diego, `Beat LA’ was a chant that was ingrained in you as a kid. I’m excited to be a part of that rivalry,” Musgrove said. His family once had season tickets and his favorite pitcher was Jake Peavy, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 2007.

The Padres needed to beef up their rotation after running out of starters in the playoffs and then losing Mike Clevinger to Tommy John surgery in mid-November. Clevinger and Lamet both came out of their final regular-season starts with arm injuries. Clevinger came back for the NLDS opener, but his injury forced him out in the second inning of a 5-1 loss. Lamet missed the playoffs entirely but the Padres say his offseason throwing program is progressing well.

“It’s all about getting pieces that fit and the right guys from a talent and makeup standpoint,” general manager A.J. Preller said. “I think with Joe being from San Diego, there’s a motivation there, a guy that knows the city. He’s a Padres fan, he grew up here. From his standpoint, wanting to win for his hometown club, we viewed that as a positive.”

Even after the three big trades, the Padres still have seven players listed on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, the most in the majors. They were able to hold on to top prospects MacKenzie Gore, a left-hander who could make his big league debut in 2021, and shortstop C.J. Abrams.

Musgrove, Pittsburgh’s opening day starter in 2020, went 1-5 with a 3.86 ERA in eight starts last season, striking out 55 in 39 2/3 innings. He avoided arbitration last week when he and the Pirates – who had the worst record in the majors in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season – agreed to a $4.45 million salary for 2021. He can become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Musgrove won a World Series ring with Houston in 2017 before being sent to the Pirates in the trade that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros in January 2018. Musgrove was the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers.

He knows how high expectations are for the Padres, and said his expectations are even higher.

“No championship would mean more than one for my own city,” he said.

Besides the three big trades, the Padres also signed South Korean slugger Kim Ha-seong.

“The team last year really vibed and had a great feel so I think when we made these moves we wanted to make sure we maintained that and add some guys who would complement and help that group and have a similar vibe,” Preller said. “Hopefully we have a team that can play deeper into October this year.”

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.